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Dr Muhammad Ridzwan Mogarajah, 41, seorang pakar Bius (Foto) dan Shamala Sathiaseelan telah mendirikan rumah tangga pada tahun 1998. Pada tahun 2004, Mogarajah telah diberi hidayah dan memeluk Islam manakala isterinya tidak.

Mereka dikurniakan dua orang anak lelaki Saktiswaran, 9 tahun dan Theiviswaran, 7 tahun (foto kiri) Kini, pasangan ini masih sah suami isteri mengikut undang-undang sivil.

Namun kedua-dua orang anak Dr Ridwan telah dilarikan oleh Shamala ke Australia dan sejak 2004, beliau tidak dapat berjumpa dengan anak-anak beliau.

Dr Ridwan diberi hadhanah (hak penjagaan) oleh Mahkamah Syariah pada tahun 2003 tetapi hak penjagaan bersama telah diberi kepada ibu dan ayah pada 2004. Sebenarnya isu dan masalah yang timbul sungguh menyayat hati serta membingungkan.

Shamala mendapat sokongan Women’s Aid Organisation, Sisters in Islam dan Women’s Centre for Change (Penang) tetapi DR Ridwan keseorangan, tiada siapa yang terang-terang menyokong beliau.

Shamala, Ridzwan both victims in conversion issue

He has not seen his two sons since they were six and four. She has since fled the country to escape him and a law she does not accept.

Both relied on the laws they believed to be theirs. He relied on Islamic jurisprudence when their marriage failed while she stuck to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 under which they were married in 1998.

Under the different systems of law, both were granted custody over the two boys born of their 11-year-old marriage. He was given the Hardanah order while she was given the right to raise her sons under civil law.

Yet, seven years on, neither Dr Jeyaganesh C Mogarajah, who is now known as Muhammad Ridzwan Mogarajah, nor Shamala Sathiaseelan have gotten the closure or legal remedy they need to proceed with their lives.

Once villified for converting their sons, then four and two, to Islam without the prior consent of his wife, Dr Ridzwan now cuts a forlorn figure in court.

Sitting alone at the back of the courtroom yesterday, the anaesthetist was overwhelmed by the number of supporters his wife had, through women’s rights groups like Women’s Aid Organisation, Sisters in Islam and Women’s Centre for Change (Penang).

He was in the Court of Appeal to listen to the five appeals that his and Shamala’s lawyers have filed.

Besides objections against certain jurisdictions of the Islamic and civil courts in their case, both parties are also appealing the warrants of arrest or contempt of court proceedings, resulting from their actions.

While Shamala is seeking to nullify the High Court’s refusal to reverse the conversion of her sons, Dr Ridzwan is appealing against the court’s decision to grant full custody to his wife.

Shamala was also appealing against the court’s order for her not to influence her children to the Hindu faith.

Although Shamala was not in court to listen to her lawyers’ submissions, the number of people sympathetic to her plight far outweighed his.

Dr Ridzwan, nevertheless, seems more reconcilable than the time when he “sprung” his Hardanah order on Shamala on May 25, 2003 after taking his sons away for the weekend. Using the custody order given to him by the Syariah Court, he informed her that he was not returning their sons.

Today, the 41-year-old accepts that it is Shamala who has the upper hand and is willing to talk about shared custody.

“That would be the best for now. A decision for joint custody was made in 2004 and we should stick to that,” said Dr Ridzwan during the lunch break.

When asked if he will assure her that he will not take away Saktiswaran, now nine, and Theiviswaran, seven, if he is allowed to visit them, Dr Ridzwan said: “I think she has proven that she is the one who has taken away the children. If you read her affidavits, she left me, I didn’t leave her. Even up to the time I converted, I didn’t leave her.”

But he is now willing to accept her terms, if only he knew where she and their sons are. “I think all that has been done five years ago, still waiting for a reply. We’ve spoken to their lawyers but there has been no reply,” he said.

Although, the remarried medical worker agreed with the cabinet’s decision that children of parents where one of them opted to convert must be raised in the common religion at the time of marriage, he believed that more needs to be done.

“The only thing I don’t agree is the thing about practising of the common religion. Which should the children follow if the parents themselves were marginal Christians, Hindus or Muslims before the problem arose?

“The government needs to fine-tune a lot of things. The announcement sounds nice but there are still a lot of loose ends. It doesn’t resolve anything,” said Dr Ridzwan who has a son and daughter from his second marriage in 2006.

Citing the similar case of Indra Ghandhi who claimed that her husband K Patmanathan or Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah had also converted their three children without her consent, Dr Ridzwan said he had read reports that Patmanathan did not have to obey the cabinet decision.

Although the two older children are with the mother now, the youngest child is with Patmanathan, who has since gone missing.

Dr Ridzwan and Shamala remain legally married as neither has sought divorce under the civil law they were married under, as are Indra and Patmanathan.

If the law does not move quickly to give remedy to the likes of Shamala and Dr Ridzwan or Indra and Patmanathan, the good intentions of last week’s cabinet announcement will amount to nothing. Couples in similar plight will resort to either lawsuits, or worse, absconding with their children.

by Chan Kok Leong /Chu Juck Seng/The Edge

Laporan Mahkamah

Comments :

Anonymous said...

Jangan risau,sebenarnya anda bukan keseorangan...percayalah...tuhan sentiasa disisimu...kebenaran dan kemenangan pasti akan meyusul..! insyakallah.





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